It takes hard work for a band to appear as carefree and unbothered as Elephant does on Shooting for the Moon. After their acclaimed debut Big Thing (2022), the follow-up sees the Rotterdam based indie band confronting their own cynicism – armed with irresistible guitar licks, steadfast nonchalance, and lyrics that paint the everyday in an ever-so-slightly more magical light. The summer sun shines brightly in the faces of these four friends who have no choice but to embrace. Because for them, nothing’s more bold than being easy-going and optimistic.
With a sold out nationwide tour, plenty of airplay, and having been handed the honorific title of ‘Emerging Artist’ by prestigious Dutch media like 3FM, 3voor12, and de Volkskrant, you could say Elephant has the wind at their back. As such, Shooting for the Moon has become quite a hopeful record, for which the band called in Flemish singer-songwriter Meskerem Mees and producer Pablo van de Poel (DeWolff), though the group very much remains its own driving force. Having spend many years as sidemen in other people’s projects, the four of them are elated to have the rehearsal space all to themselves now.
Unlike on Big Thing, which came together during a period of pandemic uncertainty, the feeling of liberation and harmony is abundant on Shooting for the Moon. “The sunshine falls upon my face. It’s been so long that I felt anything so real as I feel right now,” we hear on ‘Enemy’. It’s not the rainfall, but the clear blue sky. Not the night, but the morning. This is a tightknit group that just wants to make something beautiful, whatever it takes, borrowing from the velvet sound of Andy Shauf, The Feelies’ timid posture, and the congenial warmth of Wilco.
But don’t think the cynicism, which Elephant actively tries to leave at the studio’s front door, has entirely dissipated. On the opening track, for the briefest of moments, the band even loses its temper: “I hate your post-punk pretensions, your fake English accent,” they proclaim. But worry not, post-punk devotees. Rather than disdain for a genre, this is the self-doubt and actualization of a band that’s thriving, a band that’s flying too close to the sun and shooting for the moon, and knows damn well just how fanciful that sounds.